Something brewing in the City of Yarra: three breweries to visit this summer

Summer has finally arrived in Melbourne, and with it, an inclination to find a spot to partake in a refreshing afternoon ale or two, whether after work or on the weekend. Local breweries can provide the perfect answer, offering up crafty and tasty brews in a convivial atmosphere.

Going direct to the source is a particular treat, as you have the chance to sample the freshest batch of fermented goodness. You can also get up close and personal with the brewery bartenders who work close to the production and are well-placed to give you all the recommendations you need. Treat ’em nice and you’ll have a knowledgeable guide to steer you through an afternoon and into an evening of fun.

We’ve found three breweries in the City of Yarra particularly worthy of a visit. So give each a go, experiment with the most out-there concoctions, and maybe find a new favourite tipple. Happy (and safe) drinking!

Stomping Ground Beer Hall

100 Gipps Street, Collingwood.

Just off Hoddle Street, in a neighbourhood with a growing number of interesting venues, you’ll find Stomping Ground Brewing Co. bar, restaurant and beer garden. Beyond the grey exterior wall, hang your bike in the entrance and discover what lies within.

The selection at Stomping Ground brewery. Photo: Scott Robinson
The selection at Stomping Ground brewery. Photo: Scott Robinson

A well-lit, spacious area with a central bar pouring from a large, rotating menu of beers, from crisp to tart/funky, through to malt, smoke, roast, and fruit spice. Stomping Ground has something for just about everyone, with wine, cider, cocktails and coffee also on offer.

Deciding what to order can be hard at first, although the taste categories help. And depending on how adventurous you are, there’s a ‘Mixed Six’ option that gives you a range of beers to try, and a variety of sizes to choose from. With your selection in hand, head around the bar to the street-facing area where the roof opens on dry days, and enjoy your brew in the sunshine.

Menu: ranging from snacks to full meals, with seasonal specialties.

Open: 11:30am – 12:00am (1:00am Friday and Saturday)

Moon Dog Craft Brewery

17 Duke Street, Abbotsford

Going to Moon Dog feels like going to a friend’s house that has been converted into a brewery, then (surprise, surprise), everyone they know has turned up: it’s saturated with good vibes. Join the party by turning off Victoria Street onto Duke St and make your way through the assembled devotees to order a Really Ridiculously Fun Beer!  A self-described ‘tropical-indoor-outdoor-brewery-bar-paradise’, the space has expanded into the next room – ambitiously called the ‘ballroom’ – and includes a pizza van parked permanently outside. It does not disappoint.

Fantastic concoctions are the specialty at Moon Dog, where experimenting with challenging ales and beers bordering on the obscene are par for the course.

The fun starts with deciding what to order, with names like Beer Can, Old Mate, Mack Daddy, and Jukebox Hero. Whatever you choose, get ready for big flavours; the recently founded brewery has been known to experiment with watermelon, chilli, pumpkin and truffle!

A place to bring friends (or make them), the brewery bar is open every day except Monday and Tuesday, and holds events frequently, so watch out fot the next one

Menu: wacky and wild in the best way. Check out the latest or just try everything. Pizza is pretty good, and the friendly delivery boys’ll bring yours in from the van so you can remain at your perch.

Open: Wednesday – Friday 4:00-11:00pm, Saturday 12:00-11:00pm, and Sunday 12:00-8:00pm

Mountain Goat Beer

80 North Street Richmond

Tucked among warehouses and in the shadow of the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre, Mountain Goat’s headquarters are open to the public twice a week for a round of tasting.

The scene at Mountain Goat. Photo: Scott Robinson
The scene at Mountain Goat. Photo: Scott Robinson

Settle straight in on one of the couches or gather in the welcoming open space and take your pick of the offerings. Everyone will be satisfied with a selection of the usual suspects to choose from, but seeing as you’re here, why not branch out and try something you’ve never seen in your local bottle store?

The Alphonse – an India Amber Ale – attracted my attention, and proved an excellent evening companion with its added Galaxy Hops flowers (“Imagine,” said the bartender, “green-tea leaves blooming in your beer, except fruity hops instead!”)

From its humble backyard origins and story of hard toil finding financial backers for the venture of co-founders, Dave and Cam, Mountain Goat was sold to Asahi in 2015, although the original team has stayed on. If that spoils the ‘indie’ credentials however, it may redeem itself with the green initiatives that include the use of recycled and reclaimed materials, rainwater collection and a number of other measures to reduce their impact on the environment. Read more about it here.

Menu: expect the standards but go for the rare breeds, with a pizza menu at the bar satisfying most tastes. Come for the beer though, not the food.

Open: Wednesday 5-10pm (with free brewery tour at 6.30) and Friday 5-11pm

By Scott Robinson

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